GSoC Track Editor

Contents

A Track Editor for SuperTuxKart

WORK-IN-PROGRESS!!!!!!!!!

This project is about creating a track editor. It is certainly one of the most difficult suggestions for SuperTuxKart, but also probably the most creative one. Editors can come in many different variations: they can be based on pieces (e.g. squares or rectangles) that you just place next to each other, to very powerful tools like the integrated editor of ModNation Racer (see for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tyk3CC3vyyg). We certainly don't expect anything close to the latter ;)

There are two general approaches, with potentially a different target audience:

Create a Stand-alone track editor

A stand-alone track editor could export the track (i.e. the 3d models, and all data structures needed by STK). This solves the issue that blender knowledge is required, but to make really good tracks this would appear to be a very challenging task (esp. in the limited amount of time). For high quality tracks certain blender features would be necessary, e.g. to easily create mountains, texture areas, ... Perhaps an existing open source editor can be modified?


Create a Pre-Processor

The idea here is that a simpler editor is used to create the beginning of a track, which is then imported into blender and finished there. This pre-processor should take care of some of the more mundane work, e.g. find an easy way to describe the outline of the track (including its width), its height. Perhaps allow some rough texturing, and/or placing of objects (tree, houses, ...), and/or placing of powerups (items, bananas, zipper). there should be enough in this pre-processor that its output can be imported in blender, the track exporter can be run, and a test-able track will be created. This way the track outline etc can be tested in game, before more manual work on improving the visuals will be done. This final tweaking will then be done in blender.

Discussion

A stand-alone editor that creates high quality tracks appears to be impossible to create in 2 months time. So if your project suggests a stand-alone editor, make sure to create a realistic time line, and let us know what kind of tracks can be created (e.g. if you decide to use a height map, it will be difficult to create bridges etc), and how the track editor can be extended in the future. The advantage is obviously that anybody can create tracks without any blender knowledge.

If you decide to suggest a pre-processor, you will likely still need blender knowledge to create a polished track. On the other hand it might free a lot of time for artists doing more repetitive work like creating a nice, challenging outline of the track etc. It will take some time to find a format that can be imported into blender, but it might mean that the track editor could be used even for highest quality tracks. You still need to give us a realistic timeline, and tell us how the editor can be extended in the future.

Hints

This project suggestion requires a well thought out proposal, likely with some examples in form of drawings or screenshots. Think of the steps necessary to go all the way from a track idea to the end - a track that can be loaded in SuperTuxKart. If you base your idea on pre-designed pieces that are put together, then you need a good library manager to allow people to find the pieces they are looking for. If you allow a more flexible approach, describe the process from the beginning to the end.

A very simple example: you could draw the road of the track in any 2d graphics program (or if you write your own gui allow to draw it). Then analyse this picture to create a real 3d mesh from it (perhaps use a height map). How would you help filling the empty spaces (i.e. between the road). This could then be imported into blender.

Think about placing items on the track. What about zippers, jumps, bridges?


(see drivelines)

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